This Wednesday morning, MMI’s reporter made a tour to some travel agencies in Bamenda, North West Regional capital, and observed that vehicles were still grounded and passengers stranded, despite an earlier promise by travel agencies to resume operations.
Passengers who left places like Wum, Bafut, and Mbengwi to Bamenda to board buses to other regions were left stranded in front of the travel agencies as vehicles remained grounded.
“We think that separatists should reconsider this decision of banning travel agencies, it is making us hopeless,” a bike rider tells his colleagues in front of one of the travel agencies MMI visited.
On Tuesday, eight travel agencies signed a declaration in which they pledged to unanimously defy a separatist ban on some of them and to resume their operations on Wednesday morning.
The release was greeted with much relief by social media users and people who intended to travel to or from Bamenda. But separatists published the transporters’ declaration on one of their propaganda Facebook pages, accompanied by death threats on anyone who was going to use the “banned” travel agencies.
MMI gathered that no buses entered Bamenda from other regions this morning, owing to the separatists’ threats. At the travel agencies in Bamenda, which MMI visited this morning, there was no loading or offloading of vehicles as the case would be on normal days.
Some travel agencies had moved their buses to safer locations, while others just parked at the bus stop.
Impact Of The “Elephants’ Fight”
Separatist lockdowns, bans, and threats are not new to people who have lived in the English-speaking Regions of Cameroon during the past six years of armed conflict. The population has usually been at a loss each time Ambazonia separatists use bans and lockdowns to settle scores with the government or other parties.
In the wake of the armed conflict, the population has also been forced to respect government curfews, and suffered arbitrary arrests from the police and soldiers, while others have died in government detention.
This week, the population of the two English-speaking Regions has been recovering from a two-week separatist lockdown during which several civilians were killed for “violating” it.
In the course of their quest for independence, separatists have complicated life for the common man by destroying social infrastructures like roads, bridges, schools, and government buildings, among others. They have also disrupted normal life through a Monday lockdown that has been enforced in many parts of the two Regions since 2017.
Both belligerents in the armed conflict have burned down houses, destroyed farms, killed civilians, and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Many have also been forced into exile, and others have totally lost their livelihood.
This recent “ban” on travel agencies in Bamenda is just one of the counterproductive measures separatist fighters have used to force civilians to obey their bid, says Langha Daniel, otherwise known as Capo Daniel, one of the separatist leaders abroad.